Purity of Purpose
For acclaimed local metalsmith Andrew Crawford, striking a good balance is essential. He puts a lot of stock in the rewards of separating work and home life—a tenet that’s evident in the circa-1920 mill house he shares with his wife, Elizabeth Sears, and their young children, Edward and Tuesday, in a quiet neighborhood on the bustling Westside. Located less than a quarter mile from his metalworking studio, Andrew T. Crawford Ironworks, it’s an ideal place for the artist to shed the daily demands of his work, tossing off the gritty and cluttered character of his shop for the purity and quietude of its idyllic opposite. But the process of making this home such a refuge was no easy task; it was a labor of love that took 12 years—and two renovations—to complete.
Working first with John Duncan of Moon Brothers Inc., and later with architect Charles T. Orr and Pal Duke of Pal Duke Construction Inc., the couple restored the floors, transformed the layout and took the entire footprint of the house up, adding a second floor and doubling the overall square footage to make room for their growing family. While once a mass of walls and doors, the house is now an open, airy abode with a commanding staircase at its center.
Still, it's the pristine palette enveloping this space that leaves you with the strongest impression. “I don't love color,” says Elizabeth, turning her gaze to the walls and ceilings. “I'm drawn to white because it's clean, simple and easy to live with.” She went through almost a dozen shades before selecting Benjamin Moore Decorator's White. “I picked it because it was the absolute plainest white I could find,” she explains. “I couldn't handle all of the pink-whites, blue-whites and dowdy grays.”
That's not to say the house is without hints of color. A few carefully chosen heirlooms, locally sourced antiques and works on canvas by Elizabeth's mother, Atlanta artist Helen Durant, act as beautiful grace notes to the otherwise austere scheme. Andrew's artistry can be found in subtle touches as well: a signature stair rail, curvy iron sconces, fireplace andirons, a copper fountain and a decorative front gate. The steel-and-limestone coffee table in the living room is one of his principal furniture designs—and might have been Elizabeth's favorite element in the home, if it weren't for the vintage six-panel doors.
“The one in my office was original but I wanted them all over the house, so I salvaged the rest,” she says. Duke and Duncan took the diverse collection and made it work, stripping, finishing and retro-fitting the doors to their new frames, in turn creating the standout architectural feature of the house.
In all, it's a pared-down approach to living that exists in stark contrast to the lush details of many Atlanta homes—which is exactly what this couple loves about it. Its unspoiled, authentic vibe is also right in step with the work of Andrew, who is known for his love of basic materials. “What I like about this house is that the floors are wood, the fireplace is brick, and the furniture is wood,” he says with a chuckle. “I like to let the materials be what they are.”
Moon Brothers Inc. Architects
1662 McLendon Ave.
Charles T. Orr Jr., AIA, LEED AP
Pal Duke Construction Inc.
Krogh-Built Cabinetry & Millwork
164 Milton Ave.
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